GNU Wget is a command-line utility for downloading files from the  web. With Wget, you can download files using HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP  protocols. Wget provides a number of options allowing you to download  multiple files, resume downloads, limit the bandwidth, recursive  downloads, download in the background, mirror a website and much more.

In  this tutorial, we will show you how to use the Wget command through  practical examples and detailed explanations of the most common Wget  options.

Installing Wget

The wget package is pre-installed on most Linux distributions today.

To check whether the Wget package is installed on your system, open up your console, type wget, and press enter. If you have wget installed, the system will print wget: missing URL, otherwise, it will print wget command not found.

If wget is not installed, you can easily install it using the package manager of your distro.

Installing Wget on Ubuntu and Debian

sudo apt install wget

Installing Wget on CentOS and Fedora

sudo yum install wget

Wget Command Syntax

Before going into how to use the wget command, let’s start by reviewing the basic syntax.

The wget utility expressions take the following form:

wget [options] [url]


  • options - The Wget options
  • url - URL of the file or directory you want to download or synchronize.

How to Download a File with Wget

In  it’s simplest form when used without any option, wget will download the  resource specified in the [url] to the current directory.

In the following example we are downloading the Linux kernel tar archive:


As you can see from the image  above, Wget starts by resolving the IP address of the domain, then  connects to the remote server and starts the transfer.

During the  download, Wget shows the progress bar alongside with the file name, file  size, download speed, and the estimated time to complete the download.  Once the download is complete, you can find the downloaded file in your current working directory.

To turn off Wget’s output, use the -q option.

If the file already exists, Wget will add .N (number) at the end of the file name.

Using Wget Command to Save the Downloaded File Under Different Name

To save the downloaded file under a different name, pass the -O option followed by the chosen name:

wget -O

The command above will save the latest hugo zip file from GitHub as instead of its original name.

Using Wget Command to Download a File to a Specific Directory

By  default, Wget will save the downloaded file in the current working  directory. To save the file to a specific location, use the -P option:

wget -P /mnt/iso

With the command above we are telling Wget to save the CentOS 7 iso file to the /mnt/iso directory.

How to Limit the Download Speed with Wget

To limit the download speed, use the --limit-rate option. By default, the speed is measured in bytes/second. Append k for kilobytes , m for megabytes and g for gigabytes.

The following command will download the Go binary and limit the download speed to 1mb:

wget --limit-rate=1m

This option is useful when you don’t want wget to consume all the available bandwidth.

How to Resume a Download with Wget

You can resume a download using the -c option. This is useful if your connection drops during a download of a  large file, and instead of starting the download from scratch, you can  continue the previous one.

In the following example we are resuming the download of the Ubuntu 18.04 iso file:

wget -c

If  the remote server does not support resuming downloads, Wget will start  the download from the beginning and overwrite the existing file.

How to Download in Background with Wget

To download in the background ,use the -b option. In the following example, we are downloading the OpenSuse iso file in the background:

wget -b

By default, the output is redirected to wget-log file in the current directory. To watch the status of the download, use the tail command:

tail -f wget-log

How to change the Wget User-Agent of Wget

Sometimes  when downloading a file, the remote server may be set to block the Wget  User-Agent. In situations like this to emulate a different browser pass  the -U option.

wget --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/60.0"

The command above will emulate Firefox 60 requesting the page from

How to Download Multiple Files with Wget

If you want to download multiple files at once, use the -i option followed by the path to a local or external file containing a  list of the URLs to be downloaded. Each URL needs to be on a separate  line.

In the following example we are downloading the Arch Linux, Debian, and Fedora iso files with URLs specified in the linux-distros.txt file:

wget -i linux-distros.txt



If you specify - as a filename, URLs will be read from the standard input.

Using Wget Command to Download via FTP

To download a file from a password-protected FTP server, specify the username and password as shown below:

wget --ftp-user=FTP_USERNAME --ftp-password=FTP_PASSWORD

Using Wget Command to Create a Mirror of a Website

To create a mirror of a website with Wget, use the -m option. This will create a complete local copy of the website by  following and downloading all internal links as well as the website  resources (JavaScript, CSS, Images).

wget -m

If you want to use the downloaded website for local browsing, you will need to pass a few extra arguments to the command above.

wget -m -k -p

The -k option will cause Wget to convert the links in the downloaded documents to make them suitable for local viewing. The -p option will tell wget to download all necessary files for displaying the HTML page.

How to Skip Certificate Check with Wget

If you want to download a file over HTTPS from a host that has an invalid SSL certificate, use the --no-check-certificate option:

wget --no-check-certificate

How to Download to Standard Output with Wget

In the following example, Wget will quietly ( flag -q) download and output the latest WordPress version to stdout ( flag -O -) and pipe it to the tar utility which will extract the archive to the /var/www directory.

wget -q -O - "" | tar -xzf - -C /var/www


With  Wget, you can download multiple files, resume partial downloads, mirror  websites, and combine the Wget options according to your needs.

To learn more about Wget visit the GNU wget Manual page.